Saturday February 10, 2018
Kabul (BNA) As the unprecedented protest of Pashtuns against Pakistani government continues for at least past two weeks, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani on Friday said he supports the protest and that he hopes it will succeed in uprooting terrorism from the region.
“Just like the Lawyers’ Community in Pakistan succeeded in their movement, I hope Pashtun Long March would also succeed in uprooting and eradicating terrorism from their region,” President Ghani said in his Facebook page. “I fully support the historical Pashtun Long March in Pakistan. The main purpose of which is to mobilize citizens against fundamentalism and terrorism in the region,” President Ghani added, saying the historical importance of the march traces back to the great proponent of non-violence, Bacha Khan, whose philosophy was based on the non-violent ideology.
The President called on media outlets to help the protest in voicing their grievances and demands and presenting their true image to the world. “After the tragedies of Kabul, I had remarked that Afghans and the people of this region should align against terrorism. I consider the Pashtun Long March a response to those remarks and a wake-up call against fundamentalism,” he added in his Facebook post. The President also said the protest is a positive initiative against fundamentalism “that morally binds on each one of us to support them”. Following the murder of a young shopkeeper in a gunfight with Karachi police last month, thousands of Pashtun, living in the tribal belt, rallied against the move, seeking justice and an end to the oppression against them. The rally started more than 10 days ago. Since then, they have been observing a sit-in protest.
During the past week, many emotional speakers talked about their grievances and urged the Pakistani government to act on their demands. Naqeebullah Mehsud was accused of having links with terrorist groups. Later, an investigation found no evidence against him. This caused the massive protests which started from the North Waziristan and continued through to Islamabad. The protesters demand swift justice for Naqeebullah Mehsud as well as arresting and punishing the police officer who allegedly kidnapped and killed him, remove all the landmines from Waziristan and the rest of the tribal belt, produce all the so-called “missing persons,” who have allegedly been taken into custody by the state security agencies, remove the security check posts, where tribesmen have to prove their identity each time they enter their villages and towns and put an end to frequent curfews on the movement of locals in the name of security.